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How to Get a Police Report for a Car Accident in Atlanta

Car accidents can be incredibly harmful to Atlanta victims, resulting in expensive medical treatment and damaging lost wages. Because of that, victims need to ensure that they have the best chance at recovering compensatory damages and learn how to get a copy of the police report for their Atlanta car accident.

In Atlanta, victims can obtain a copy of their police report for a car accident online, in person, or by mail. Getting a digital copy may be more convenient for some Atlanta victims, while getting a paper copy is often cheaper and requires a few extra steps. Regardless, reports are often made available within a week of an Atlanta car accident. Obtaining this report is crucial, as its contents can greatly strengthen your claim against a negligent Atlanta driver.

Our Atlanta car accident attorneys understand how vital it is for Atlanta car accident victims to recover compensatory damages after a devastating collision. For a free case evaluation with the Macon, GA car accident lawyers at Howe Law, call us today at (844) 876-4357.

What Kind of Information is Included in a Police Report for a Car Accident in Atlanta?

The police report is an official record of the accident written by the police officers who responded to the scene. As detailed below, the report may contain a whole host of information gathered by the police about how the accident happened. Exactly how much information is included and the details involved depends on the nature of the accident and the extent of the police officers’ investigation.

Some important details that are typically included in a police accident report are details about the layout of the accident scene itself. Of course, basic information like the location, names of streets, and even a diagram of the road or intersection is practically a given. If there was anything unusual about the accident scene, like roadwork or damage to the road, like potholes, it will likely be noted in the report.

If the police spoke to anybody about the accident, including the drivers and witnesses, details about those people and their statements may be included in the report. This is why it is important that you speak to the police after an accident. They might need your version of events to complete their report.

The police often include various notes about what they uncover in their investigation, including their interpretation of the facts. While not necessarily definitive, the police may include their own opinions about how the crash happened and who is responsible. Again, these are opinions of the police and are not to be taken as legal facts. Even so, the police often have a lot of experience with accidents, and their opinions may be well-informed and based on solid evidence. Our Atlanta car accident lawyers can review this information to determine how to move forward with your case.

Getting a Digital Copy of a Police Report for an Atlanta Car Accident

Getting a copy of a police report for an Atlanta car accident is crucial, especially if you plan to sue a negligent driver for compensatory damages. The Atlanta Police Department makes it easy for victims by uploading reports to an online portal once they are complete.

Atlanta car accident victims can access a paper copy of a police report online. To locate your report, you will need to input certain identifying information. For example, victims must include their state (Georgia) and the jurisdiction (Atlanta Police Department). Next, victims must include their personal information, like their last name and driver’s license number, as well as the accident date.

Including the specific report number can also help locate your police report online. Atlanta police officers should provide you with a copy of the corresponding report number at the accident scene. If you never received a report number or have since misplaced it, our Atlanta personal injury attorneys can help.

Going online can be a great option for Atlanta victims, especially if their injuries prevent them from getting their reports in person. It’s important to note that Atlanta police reports for car accidents cost $11 when victims use the online portal.

Can You Get a Paper Copy of a Police Report for a Car Accident in Atlanta?

If you live in the Atlanta area and want to get your report in person, you can easily do so. Atlanta car accident victims can visit the Atlanta Police Department’s Central Records Unit in order to obtain a paper copy of their police report.

For some Atlanta car accident victims, getting a paper copy of a police report for a car accident can be the more convenient option. Reports are available at the Central Records Unit, located in the Atlanta Public Safety Annex, which is about a 15-minute drive from the Atlanta Police Department.

Victims can visit the Central Records Unit to obtain their police reports any time between 8:30 in the morning and 3:30 in the afternoon, Monday through Friday. If your injuries prevent you from getting a paper copy of a police report, your Marietta car accident lawyer can help obtain it.

Atlanta car accident victims can also request a copy of their police report from the Central Records Unit by mail. Mailed reports cost $5, and in-person copies cost 10 cents per page.

How Soon After a Car Accident Can You Get a Police Report in Atlanta?

Because police reports for Atlanta car accidents are detailed documents, it can take several days for your report to be made available online or for in-person pickup. Victims can also expect delays, depending on the current number of accidents in the Atlanta area.

Generally, the Central Records Unit takes five to seven business days to make paper reports available for in-person pickup. If you choose to access your report online, expect the same wait time. Should you choose to request a mailed copy of your police report, it may take a few additional days to reach your Atlanta home.

That being said, there can be delays. Remember, these reports are highly detailed. It’s important to allow time for Atlanta police officers to complete an accident report thoroughly and for police personnel to file it, physically and online.

Victims or their Valdosta car accident lawyers can periodically check the online portal or call the Central Records Unit to see if their reports have become available. If it appears that it’s taking too long for your report to be made available for retrieval, our attorneys can reach out to Atlanta law enforcement on your behalf.

Can I Use a Police Report as Evidence in My Atlanta Car Accident Case?

You might be thinking that since police reports are so full of valuable information collected by experienced law enforcement officials, they must make for excellent evidence in the courtroom. Plaintiffs are often surprised to learn that, as a general rule, police reports are not admissible evidence.

Police reports are often written by police officers who investigate accidents but do not actually witness them. Therefore, their information is collected second-hand and is considered hearsay. Under O.C.G.A. § 24-8-801(d), hearsay is defined as a statement – the statement may be oral or written – made by someone other than the person testifying about the statement. The statement is usually offered as evidence as proof of the matter contained in the statement. For example, if a witness says they know the defendant caused the accident because their friend saw the accident and told them so, that statement would be inadmissible hearsay.

Since police reports are based on statements and details gathered from others rather than first-hand observations made by the police, the report is considered inadmissible hearsay.

Under certain circumstances, a police report might be admissible as evidence. According to O.C.G.A. § 24-8-803(8), certain public records and reports may be admitted into evidence despite their hearsay nature. Public records include records of public offices, such as the police. The records should contain information that the public office in question has a duty to observe, investigate, or report.

If you believe the police report is helpful to your case, talk to your attorney about whether it can be used as evidence. Even if it cannot, there might be other useful ways of incorporating the report into your case.

Why Should You Get a Copy of a Police Report After an Atlanta Car Accident?

If you are planning to sue a negligent driver for compensatory damages after an Atlanta car accident, it’s vital to have access to a police report. These reports contain important details that can help support your claim against a negligent driver in Atlanta.

Although police reports aren’t considered evidence in an Atlanta car accident lawsuit, they can point to evidence. Our Alpharetta car accident attorneys can use the information within a police report to locate eyewitnesses who can corroborate your claim. Other details, like the accident’s location, can help an attorney uncover potential security or camera footage of an accident’s events.

Car accident reports may also contain Atlanta police officers’ own opinions regarding a collision’s cause. If a driver is speeding or driving under the influence, law enforcement officers will likely include such details in a report.

Clearly, police reports can contain vital pieces of information that can be invaluable in a lawsuit against a negligent driver. If you’re having difficulty accessing your report, your Atlanta car accident lawyer can help you and then use that information to strengthen your compensation claim against a negligent driver.

How to Use a Police Report After a Car Accident in Atlanta

As discussed before, police reports are generally considered inadmissible hearsay and cannot be used as evidence, barring special circumstances. Even if we cannot admit the report into evidence, our Atlanta car accident lawyers can help you find other ways of using it that help your case.

First, the police report might not be admissible as evidence, but it might contain information about other evidence uncovered by the police. We can use the police report as a sort of guide to find evidence that is admissible. For example, we cannot use the report as evidence of statements made by witnesses to the police. However, we can use the report to find those witnesses and get them to testify in court.

Police reports may be useful in other ways. In cases involving particularly complex accident scenes and disputed facts, an accident reconstruction expert can evaluate the evidence and scientifically recreate the crash. To do this, the expert may need to review various details we have obtained, including the police report.

One of the most common uses of a police accident report is for insurance claims. Insurance companies do not restrict evidence because of the hearsay rule. In fact, many insurance companies require a copy of the police report before they even begin to process your claim.

Is There Always a Police Report Written for Every Car Accident in Atlanta?

Now that you know how to obtain a copy of your report, you need to know if there is even a report to get a copy of in the first place. Generally, if you report the accident to the police, there should be some sort of report. What is in the report and how long it takes to compile depend on the severity of the accident and the duration of the police investigation.

Sometimes, people are hesitant to get the police involved. In cases where the damage appears minimal, drivers might agree to work out an agreement privately rather than get the police involved. While you do not have to report minor accidents to the police, you should do so anyway so there is an official record, just in case. However, some accidents must be reported as a matter of law.

Reporting to the police is required under certain circumstances. According to O.C.G.A. § 40-6-273, accidents involving injuries, death, or property damage of at least $500 must be reported to the police. Failure to do so might land you in trouble, even if you are not at fault for the crash.

Our Atlanta Car Accident Lawyers Can Help Following a Crash

Atlanta car accident victims deserve a lawyer who will fight for their interests against a negligent driver. For a free case evaluation with the Alpharetta personal injury attorneys at Howe Law, call us today at (844) 876-4357.

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